Flash fiction by Raymond A. Ybanez
I was heading home from work when, on the road, I chanced upon the strong downpour of rain. I pulled my old motorcycle over on the side of the overpass to wear my raincoat. As the flow of car traffic slowed down on the road, the sound of drums and trumpets rose in the air. There’s a parade in spite of the downpour. It finally made the cars stand still.
The procession was crossing to the other side of the road. The devotees each carried a statuette of their lord as they danced in tune to the music of their band. It’s their Barangay’s fiesta, I thought. I’m impressed that the devotees still pushed through with the procession even though the rainfall’s hard. In the midst of the procession, something caught my eye. A child seemed to enjoy the rain while being carried by his father. He raised his two hands as if begging for rain water from the heavens. And when it filled up his cupped hands, the child washed it on the poor father’s face, and laughed together. In the eyes of the child, the rain is his friend. I was moved by the scene I witnessed. I could not remove the child and his father from my eyes, because I’m also a father. And it seems that the child could be the same age as my own daughter. The procession went on until all the devotees had crossed over to the other side. Gradually the cars moved, and I returned to my motorcycle to head home.
My cellphone rang, my wife on the other line.
“Pa, the rain’s strong over there.”
“Oo, Ma, still here on the road, but I’m on my way home. Just stalled because of the procession.”
“That so? I saw on TV that some barangays there in Cagayan de Oro are being flooded.”
“It always happens, Ma, are you still surprised?”
“No, but the flood also hit Lapasan.”
“Ha? Are you sure?”
“Oo, so you take care. If the water’s too high on the way to the apartment, just head straight to Tagoloan, Pa.”
I became worried of what my wife told me, so I speeded-up my motorcycle, hoping to save the things that my wife and I had invested in. When I arrived in Lapasan, the flood rose to waist level. I could not force the motorcycle to wade into the flood, water might get into its engine.
I waited for the flood to subside.
The rain weakened, but the flood didn’t. Where before our Barangay hadn’t been flooded, now I could not believe that I’m walking towards my apartment, wading waist-deep in flood water. When I got inside the unit we rented, my eyes saw our stuff drowning in the flood. I turned to look on the rest of the surroundings. The flood swallowed everything that we had invested in. I called my wife in the cellphone and told her about what happened to our apartment.
Again, I looked at the things that the flood had destroyed. I remembered the child in the procession, happy with his friend, the rain. The rain of the child is not my friend.
[Raymond A Ybanez is a member of the Nagkahi-usang Magsusulat sa Cagayan de Oro (Nag-mac). He has been a fellow for fiction at the 2016 CDO Fiction Clinic and the 10th Palihang Rogelio Sicat. Most of his works appeared in Dagmay Literary Journal, Bulawan Literary Zine of Northern Minda-nao, and Liwayway Magazine of the Manila Bulletin. He has recently self-published his poetry collection Mukha At Iba Pang Mga Tula. ]